Tag Archive | emotional pain

Mother’s Day Roller Coaster

Mother’s day.  There were some real highs.  I won a fabulous gift package for my mom and it felt so good to bless her with that. My extended family was able to get together for lunch and enjoy each other’s company.  The guys took the initiative and my guy was able to be there. Two of my three kids came as well. Those were all very good things. 

There were lows. One of my kids chose not to come. He said he was job hunting but later also said he feels he can’t be himself with my family.  I think they are pretty accepting and they really love him. But, that’s how he feels.  And, apparently how he feels is more important than attending something important to me on mother’s day.  None of my kids gave me even so much as a card. I received a verbal “happy mother’s day ” from each of them at some point in the day. But, that was it. No one made any extra effort at home or to do anything for me. I have all three home with me and am supporting them and it’s a lot for me on every level.

To receive no appreciation yesterday tipped me over the edge. The younger two that were home got an earful. I let them know exactly how much that hurt and also how much I have been worrying about them both. In the end, they both apologized.  My daughter ran out to the store and got one of the few remaining cards and a few gifts.  She wrote some beautiful things in the card. They both told me they will work on some changes. We will see. My boyfriend called my oldest son and apparently my son responded very well. He apparently felt terrible about forgetting to acknowledge mother’s day.  Later that night he made a beautiful facebook post.

I realize my kids are at a very self absorbed age. But, enough is enough.  My patience finally came to an end.  I haven’t felt that hurt and disappointed in a long time.

I know there is a lesson for me in this. I have been tolerating too much for too long, as I tend to do. We all needed it to come to the surface and be addressed. 

I still struggle with why and how my kids seem to be more “screwed up” than any other children of divorce I know.  And the discouragement I feel about that just takes me down sometimes. But, I guess I just need to focus on the good and hang on to hope.

The good is that all three responded in a positive way to being told how I felt. The good is that I do know they love me. The good us that my boyfriend was so quick to step in in a fatherly role with support and firmness. The good is that I finally reached a limit which has facilitated change.

I am exhausted today. I hope I can maintain the changes.

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Letting go of “if only’s”

I am having trouble maintaining a healthy perspective about my kids and my role as a mom to adults. I am aware that I am battling some unhealthy perspectives, yet can’t seem to quite win the battle these days.

I watch them struggle.  This week has included some emotionally intense situations for all three. I find myself filled with so much remorse and regret about the past and everything they have been through.  I know that is wasted emotional energy. But, it’s so hard not to see my mistakes and failings and wish I had done some things differently.  It’s just so, so, so darn painful! It has hurt so much this week, that I have found myself just wishing I could run away from it all for awhile.

I keep trying to be their anchor in all the storms that keep coming their way. But, it’s not enough. They keep struggling.  

I have to believe and hold on to the hope that things will get better for them at some point. My oldest is almost there. He has matured enough that he is making really healthy choices for himself. The other two….well, time will tell.

Thank God for the wonderful man in my life as well as friends and family who are incredibly supportive. They keep telling me I’m a good mom and have done the best I could. I hear them. I know they mean it. I wonder why it is so hard for me to see and believe that? Sometimes I can. But, lately….not so much. 

This is one of those things I need to surrender.  It is more than I can do on my own. I keep praying.  I keep surrendering. I keep hoping. 

Feel it All

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Yesterday was a hard day. Father’s Day is difficult for my kids. They talk about seeing facebook posts about the wonderful fathers other people have. And, although I am blessed to have a wonderful father myself, I feel the pain and loss my kids experience.  It hurts. A lot.

I also found out that my daughter is back in an unhealthy relationship yesterday.  I found out on facebook when they made their relationship facebook official.  That hurt. And, I am really concerned.  My son told me about some of the dynamics he observed in that relationship and he is very concerned.  I have stated my concerns, and she will need to figure it out. But,  they are pretty big concerns so it’s hard to let that go. 

Facebook completely overwhelmed me yesterday.  More photos of other beautiful family weddings with happy families, wonderful tributes to amazing fathers and husbands, posts about social and political issues in which people I love are on polarized sides (which sometimes makes me feel torn in two), and my daughter’s news. It became too much for me.

In addition, my ex-husband bought my daughter a car. She really needs reliable transportation, so that’s good. He’s finally stepping up to help so that’s good.  But, what’s hard about it is how I handle all the day to day needs of my kids by myself….and then he can swoop in once a year or so (conveniently on father’s day ) and be the hero with such a grand gesture.  There is no way I can do something like that.  I’ve been giving her rides, making sure she has bus passes, groceries, and still helping with her cell phone so she can manage on  her own. All of those things I help my kids with every day is exactly why I can’t buy them a car. But he can, because he lives for himself day to day.  Sigh. It’s frustrating.  But, she will now have reliable transportation, so that’s good.

Yesterday, my mom also shared with me some recent test results that indicate a possibility that her cancer may be active again. They will be monitoring it closely. I am trying not to worry. I am trying to trust. But, that’s not easy either.

Yesterday was not a good day.

Today is a new day. I focused on gratitude this morning, and hoping for a shift to come soon.

I Matter

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Why is this such a hard concept for me to truly believe about myself?

I don’t think this relates to my childhood, per se. I was a middle child…the peace maker type. I was born into this world with an emotionally sensitive nature that is deeply concerned for the comfort of others. Those factors contributed, I’m sure. But, my parents did not make me feel my needs were a burden to them. They were attentive and loving. If anything, they may have leaned towards spoiling us a bit, as they wanted us to have an easier life than they had.

But, my nature made me vulnerable to a charming, popular, good looking young man when I was 18 years old. My easy going nature made it easy to over look and forgive the times he was two hours late for a date or wouldn’t call me for days. The time he decided to work in a strip club as a DJ was expected to not be questioned because he was a Christian and would never do anything immoral. And on and on…..

We got married when I was 21 and our first son was born when I was 22. I was committed, loyal,  and believed we could create a loving family similar to what I had been blessed to grow up in.

So, when my ex quit a good paying full time job when I was pregnant the first time so he could go into Christian ministry, I was asked to support his calling. We had to fund raise his entire salary by asking friends and relatives to contribute to the ministry. So, I had to go back to work as soon as possible after our son was born.

This was just the start. If I went through every expectation placed on me throughout 20 years of marriage to put my needs aside to support his dreams,  this would be many pages long.

I did these things willingly, even though I  sacrificed much. I  believed he would be like my dad, and give just as much back. I waited and waited to see that….always convincing myself that eventually it would be my turn. But, he was always too stressed and overwhelmed and couldn’t believe I would be so selfish as to ask for anything from him knowing everything he was always going through.

This went on and worsened over the years. Over time, I came to believe I, and my needs, truly were a burden. I came to believe I did not matter. I remember feeling cognitive dissonance about this….knowing on one hand that everyone matters and everyone’s needs are important. …with living with the daily reality that this wasn’t true for me.

Having been on my own for over 5 years now, I have resolved a lot of those faulty beliefs. I get it on a cognitive level that I matter and my needs are not a burden to others.  But, this was deeply conditioned into my psyche and this conditioning plays out in so many areas of my life to this day.

When I am in a relationship, it takes tremendous courage for me to ask for what I need and overcome the anxiety that I will be in trouble for asking. I still expect to be punished with silent treatments or verbal reprimands.

With my friends,  I have to remind myself it is okay to make mistakes and also to ask for something.  I do know that they genuinely want me to be happy.

If I think I am going to create discomfort for someone,  it causes me fear and anxiety to speak up. I  still expect to be told I am being selfish. I am still often surprised when that doesn’t happen.

Even the simple act of checking in with people makes me feel like a bother. When I  call or text anyone, I still have to overcome the feeling that I am bothering them. It’s embarrassing to admit how often I have to say to myself,  “you are not a burden ” just to send a simple text.

I am making progress, but it is a long journey.

One step at a time.

A New Story

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It’s interesting how we get bombarded with certain life lessons. …and the same ones just keep coming and coming….until we finally learn what we need to learn. Sigh. I know that’s for my good, but I sure am weary right now.

One of the effects of my marriage was that I became conditioned to believe that I  just couldn’t do much of anything right.  I remember fighting against that early in the marriage, but then being criticized for being too defensive. Over time, I slowly adapted to the mind set that I was really screwed up in some fundamental ways, and that I needed to depend on others (especially my ex-husband ) to guide me through my inevitable screw ups.

After I left him, the fog started to lift. With the help of friends, family, and my counselor, I started to see my strengths and value. I felt such freedom in finding a balance of taking healthy responsibility with not taking responsibility when it wasn’t mine.  It was quite a process, but I really felt I had mainly tackled this issue.

Apparently, there is more work to do! I have been presented with situation after situation after situation in which my mistakes and faults are brought to my attention. …sometimes lovingly and gently….but mostly with painful clarity.

Ouch. It hasn’t stopped yet. Just when I thought two days ago that I was finally coming up for air….one of my kids said some very painful things to me last night that broke me. I crumbled.  I felt like such a failure. 

We talked it through and got to a healthy place. He apologized and we hugged and came to a better understanding of what each of us has experienced.  In the end, that is very good. But the journey to get there sure hurt.  And many other events leading up to that over the last few months have hurt.

I am so aware that I stand on the edge of the cliff that I have fallen down so many times before….the cliff that tumbles me down, battered, bruised, and broken to the valley of I Am A Failure. I have lived in that valley often. It was a long, hard, victorious climb out! I don’t want to go there again. Yet, event after event has been pushing me closer to the edge. Please, no more nudges. I need the strength to turn around and find my way back to the land of Self Worth and Joy. It was so great when I was living there. I need to find my way back. I do know the way. I just need a break so I can find the strength.

I have a new story to write. I want to start writing it. I want to author a new chapter in my life. I want to get past the current triggers that keep happening.  I know I will never again sink as low in my self worth as it was when I was married. But, I need to get to a healthier place now. I am praying every day for loved ones in my life who are suffering, and it weighs on me. I can’t fix things for them and I can’t change the past. I am human, I am fallible, I make mistakes and that is okay.

It is time to move forward to the next part of my story. And it will look nothing like my past.

Patient and Tough

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I have no doubt that this is a true statement.

I am usually pretty good at being patient. I am a “go with the flow” kind of person.  That can be good or challenging,  depending on the circumstances.  One of the “good” aspects is my ability to be patient. Okay, I have that working for me.

Oh….but to be tough. That is not something I am good at. There is a difference between being strong and being tough. People often tell me I’m strong. Although I have not always felt very strong,  when I reflect back I can see my strength.  I do seem to find some place of resilience within me to draw on in hard times. I’m thankful for that.

But being tough is something else. I am emotionally sensitive.  It is the way I am wired….always have been, always will be. I am meant to be who I am.  My emotional sensitivity is a gift in many ways. But, it does not make it easy for me to be tough.

I have really been struggling emotionally for months. I have been reflecting, thinking,  processing. …trying to sort out why I have been struggling. There are some very logical reasons that are definitely part of the picture.  But, it’s more than that.

I have recently realized I am absorbing a lot of the pain and emotions of people in my life. There are some people I love dearly who are dealing with very difficult circumstances.  I feel surrounded by it.

It is one of those seasons. It is something outside my control. I wouldn’t have it any other way but to make myself available for those I love.

The trouble is that no one in my life knows what I carry personally.  People in my life share with me and seek support from me, but do so confidentially. So, I  can’t share with my support system all that I carry.

I have realized only recently that I have been emotionally overwhelmed and absorbing people’s pain. In my professional life, I have no trouble  separating myself from other’s emotions. But when I am invested in caring for people in my personal life, that is a much harder thing to do.

The result is I have been “checking out” emotionally in order to cope. But people I love suffer for that. One friend, in particular, who is dealing with far more trying circumstances than anything I face, has been neglected by me during this time. And that breaks my heart.  It’s a vicious cycle. These are the times it would be nice to have a supportive partner to lean on. Some of what feels the most emotionally intense for me right now has to do with my kids. And I am on my own. So, I carry on. 

The difficulty with sharing this is that some of my dear friends read this blog. Please don’t stop sharing with me! It is up to me to set boundaries and take care of myself. That is 100% my responsibility.  It is also 100% my responsibility to ask for what I need when I need support or space or time for me. I am working on that.

The point is….I sure don’t feel tough. I feel vulnerable.  I am not sure what tough is like. I guess I will find my own way to be tough….and maybe that comes through carrying on as I always do.

I know this season won’t last forever. I also know there is a purpose to this season, and much that I am meant to learn through this. I am doing my best to remain open to that learning.  I hope this season won’t be too long, and I will see the lessons soon.

Go Through It

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Okay, I know the truth of this. But, it still is something I try to avoid and run away from.

I am reminding myself that pain serves a purpose.  There is something to be learned. There is growth that we would not experience without the pain.

Thank you to my dear friend who spent many hours with me yesterday,  allowing me a safe and loving place to go straight through some pain headlong.  Because of her friendship, I could stay with it long enough to feel it and process it.  That helps me to get to the other side of it where healing is available for me.

I know I am learning a lot right now, and I know there is so much growth happening for me. I know the pain is a necessary part of that.

By talking about and writing about it, I can move through it and not get stuck. I can feel that happening now.

Thank you, my friend.  ❤